The the new home of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, as seen Wednesday on Katherine Drive in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

HALLOWELL — The Maine Public Utilities Commission has a new home, at 26 Katherine Drive.

Meanwhile, its old location, 101 Second St., is part of an upcoming real estate foreclosure auction.

The foreclosure action is not connected to the PUC’s move, according to Harry Lanphear, the commission’s administrative director.

He said the lease at 101 Second St. ended June 30, and the commission had requested office space proposals in 2019. Lanphear said only two entities — Hallowell House LLC, which owns 101 Second St., and Fem Katherine Drive LLC, which owns the PUC’s new location — submitted bids.

The former home of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, seen Wednesday at the corner of Second and Winthrop streets in Hallowell. The buildings at 101 Second St. are expected to be auctioned off Aug. 12. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Lanphear said the Second Street space was too large for the commission and moving saves money. He said the new space on Katherine Drive is about 22,700-square-feet and has been vacant since it housed Brookfield Renewable.

In a news release, Philip L. Bartlett II, chairperson of the PUC, said the new office is “well suited” for the commission’s needs and “it is wonderful to stay in Hallowell.”

The primary hearing room has been named the Simpson Room, in honor of Chris Simpson, a longtime attorney with the commission who died last year. Simpson was killed after being struck by a vehicle as he crossed the road to retrieve his mail on July 9.

Harry Lanphear, administrative director of the Public Utilities Commission, stands in the Simpson hearing room during a tour Wednesday of the new home of the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Katherine Drive in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“Chris had a positive impact on the agency during his tenure, as well as on the lives of so many who worked with him,” Bartlett said, “and we felt it important to honor him.”

Katherine Drive is off Winthrop Street near its intersection with Whitten Road.

The 101 Second St. location is owned by Hallowell House LLC. The 27,000-square-foot building is scheduled to be auctioned Aug. 12. According to Hallowell’s 2019 tax commitment information, the property is assessed at $38,700 and the building is assessed at $729,800, for a total assessed value of $768,500.

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